At the state track meet last season, Cedar Park Christian track star Zach Keene got blown away by the competition.
His qualifying time for the 100-meter dash was not even among the top eight times that would advance to the finals. Determined to make a better showing in his senior year, Keene worked hard during the offseason to stay in shape and prepare himself for success.
“Zach’s work ethic this season was relentless,” said Cedar Park track coach Garron Smith. “He worked very hard in the preseason, came into this season in shape and was already in position to build upon his God-given speed.”
All that hard work paid off last Saturday at the 1A State Track Meet at Mount Tahoma High. Keene sprinted his way to two victories, setting a state 1A record in the 100 with a time of 10.77 seconds, and shortly thereafter running the 200 in 21.62 seconds, breaking the record of 21.7 that held up for 12 years.
Smith believes good conditioning and even better weather on Saturday helped Keene achieve his goals.
“It was a phenomenal day, a great day to run in the finals,” Smith said. “The weather Friday was bad and cold, but it warmed up considerably on Saturday, so that helped. Zach wasn’t sore … he was in great shape and ready to go.”
As a graduating senior, Keene, who was also a star football player for the Eagles, will be missed by the Cedar Park athletic program for not only his physical ability but also what he provided to the rest of his team.
“It is tough when you lose an athlete of that caliber, but Zach’s a team player,” Smith said.
“He accepted that mantle of leadership without a question, and it was really good for our younger athletes to see his work ethic and unselfishness to lift the team.
“He broadened the vision for them, and got them to believe — to see what it’s like to take it to the next level.”
Bothell senior Darcie Richmond ended her high-school golfing career on a positive note, finishing tied for second at last week’s 4A Girls’ State Tournament at Sudden Valley Golf Club in Bellingham.
Shooting consistent rounds of 79 and 76 on a long golf course in extremely difficult conditions — described by Redmond coach Jake Crowley as a “monsoon” — Richmond’s score of 155 matched that of Kamiak star and defending state champion Seo Hee Moon. Bethel’s Sadena Parks effectively lapped the field, shooting rounds of 75 and a 5-under-par 67 for a total of 142, winning by 13 strokes.
Richmond is headed to the University of Washington next year where she will study recreational therapy and play for the Husky women’s golf team.
In her years of playing golf in the competitive 4A Kingco division, Richmond has made many friends — not only on her own team, but other schools, as well. Mollie Johnsen, a Redmond senior, has been one of Richmond’s closest friends since the two met playing golf, and a sort of friendly rivalry formed between the two standouts, mostly for “bragging rights.” The two girls are very evenly matched, finishing first and second at the 4A Kingco district tournament with a one-stroke differential between their final scores.
“We play a lot of golf together,” Richmond said. “We even took a big spring-break golf trip together. She’s just a great girl on and off the course.”
But does having one of your biggest division rivals as a friend add extra pressure or make it easier to relax?
“It almost puts more pressure on us, because I want her to do well (too),” said Richmond. “Playing against a good friend is tough. We’re rooting for each other.”
Cedar Park shut out Freeman High School, 3-0, in its first tournament game before dropping the next contest, 11-0, against eventual runner-up Castle Rock. Cedar Park ended up getting knocked out of the tournament by Chimacum, 8-1, in the second round of the consolation bracket.